Battle on the beach: Women’s gold medal match preview

Battle on the beach: Women's gold medal match preview

The women’s gold medal match will see second-seeded Brazilians Agatha and Barbara take on fourth-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany. 

Head-to-head

Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst lead the series 4-1 against Brazil’s Agatha and Barbara. Two of the five meetings came in tournament finals. The two most recent meetings, the 2016 FIVB Hamburg Major Series and 2015 World Tour Finals, saw matches go to three sets. 

Olympic experience 

Laura Ludwig is the only player in the gold medal match with previous Olympic experience. Ludwig made her debut at the 2008 Beijing Games alongside Sara Goeller. The pair finished second in pool play but lost in the Round of 16. The German duo repeated their performance at the London Games where they placed second in pool play to Brazil’s Talita and Maria Antonelli. 

Kira Walkenhorst, Agatha and Barbara made their Olympic debuts at the Rio Games. 

Partnership

Agatha and Barbara began playing together in 2012 but split up at the end of the season when the Brazilian volleyball federation took over beach volleyball team selection and players were no longer allowed to chose their own partners. The program was disbanded in 2014 and Agatha and Barbara reunited and went on to win four World Tour events that season. The Brazilian women took gold at the 2015 FIVB World Championships. 

Ludwig and Walkenhorst formed their partnership during the 2013 season and made their international debut at the Shanghai Grand Slam where they reached the quarterfinals. Walkenhorst took most of the 2014 season off as she recovered from a viral infection while Ludwig continued to compete alongside Julia Sude. The duo reunited halfway into the 2015 season. The German women have won five FIVB World Tournaments in the 2016 season. 

Rio Games

The German women finished at the top of their pool and have only dropped a single set on their way to the gold medal match. 

Agatha and Barbara finished second in Pool B behind Spain’s Elsa/Liliana. The Brazilian women have dropped three sets on their way to the finals. 

Watch the women’s beach volleyball gold medal match at 11:00 p.m. ET.

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